Social Security Policy Support (SSPS) Programme

An initiative of the Cabinet Division and the General Economics Division (GED), Bangladesh Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh

Scope of Adaptive Social Protection in Bangladesh

Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) is a relatively new paradigm in social protection that overlaps the elements of Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Social protection (SP) has recently received considerable international attention as a means of reducing adverse effects of climate change, as can be revealed from the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or ‘Agenda 2030’. A sustainable and inclusive SP system needs to address a person’s risks of entire life. Ecological and environmental risks, such as prolonged drought, extreme head and clod, frequent and prolonged flood, storm and severe cyclone, salinity intrusion, erratic rainfall are synonymous to risks emanating from climate change.

Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world in terms of disaster risks and adversities of climate change, which have profound implications for fiscal attention, budgeting and spending on SP schemes. Global Climate Risk Index 2016 reveals that the country ranks the third in terms of annual average death toll, total losses in purchasing power parity dollars and number of climatic events among top ten countries in the world most vulnerable to climate-induced natural calamities for the period 1995-2014. To identify and address the challenges of climate change, the government prepared Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP, 2009).

Subsequently, Bangladesh Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (CPEIR, 2012), and Climate Fiscal Framework (CFF, 2014) were prepared by the government to link the public budget and institutions with climate change. The government has anticipated to spend about Tk. 452 billion in many social security programmes (SSPs), which is 13.28 per cent of the national budget and 2.31 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country in fiscal year 2016-17. The government also introduced a National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) in 2015 to strengthen the impacts of public money being spent in various SSPs through many different institutions. The poor and marginalised populations who are the prime beneficiaries of SSPs are also affected by climate-induced extreme events, such as cyclones, droughts, prolonged and recurrent floods, and increased salinity. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the sensitivity of the existing SP programmes to CCA and DRR which are envisaged in BCCSAP, CPEIR, CFF and NSSS.

Thus, there is a need for consistent linkage among CPEIR, CFF and NSSS to reform SP spending to more eloquently promote CCA and DRR in disaster-prone and climate-vulnerable areas. Both the Bangladesh CPEIR and the CFF worked out the SP spending directly related to climate change while the others they referred to as “livelihoods” in which they assigned different climate change weights to identify their relative importance in contributing to adaptation. However, the documents do not systematically demonstrate which SP and “livelihoods” programmes were identified as “climate change relevant” at national level although they ascertain and analyse, albeit of scantily, the climate change relevant expenditures at local level.

The NSSS recognises the significance of reducing risks and vulnerabilities emanating from climate change and disasters. Since every programme mentioned in the NSSS are unlikely to address the adversities and reducing discomforts of climate change, there is a need to derive the implications of ASP for both CFF and NSSS. Given this backdrop, the present study aims to conduct a comprehensive analysis of SSPs being implemented in Bangladesh from the perspectives of CCA and DRR aiming at improving the country’s existing CFF and NSSS, which would promote to deliver ASP to the poor and vulnerable. It also aims at supporting the Government to strengthen climate and disasters resilience in line with the NSSS. It also assesses the current policies, institutions and government spending towards ASP to derive doable options for undertaking reforms in the institutions and programmes in line with NSSS and CFF. The broad objective of the study is to improve the CFF of Bangladesh in the light of the NSSS to encourage financing climate change to deliver ASP for poor- and climate-vulnerable populations, and support the government’s effort in strengthening flexibility of addressing the covariate shocks. This study takes into consideration the NSSS and CFF for a definition of ASP to refine the CFF considering the NSSS documents for mobilising climate change financing and offer the standard for future financing for delivering ASP based on the priorities of the programmes.

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